United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, United States District Court Judge
Chad Allen Martin, filed a pro se civil-rights suit
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the
Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment (DN 30).
For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.
time Plaintiff filed his complaint, he was a pretrial
detainee at the Warren County Regional Jail (WCRJ). The Court
allowed to proceed a claim that Defendant WCRJ Captain Shawn
Whittlesey tazed Plaintiff on August 22, 2015, while
Plaintiff was handcuffed to a restraint chair and that on
December 22, 2015, Defendant WCRJ Captain Kimberly James
sprayed Plaintiff with mace and tazed him. The Court also
allowed Plaintiff's allegation concerning being moved to
“H-7” to go forward. According to the complaint,
on June 17, 2016, Plaintiff was moved to H-7 despite having
told Defendants that he would be in danger if he was moved
there. He alleged that in H-7 he was “jumped”
twice, suffering injuries to his face, jaw, and hand.
their motion for summary judgment, Defendants argue that
Plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative remedies in
accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). They
state that Plaintiff did not grieve the August 22, 2015,
incident or the December 22, 2015, incident. Defendants
further argue that, while Plaintiff did file a grievance with
respect to the June 2016 incident, he did not appeal from the
initial response to the grievance and therefore did not fully
exhaust his administrative remedies.
response (DN 40), Plaintiff argues that the reason he was
unable to file grievances regarding the episodes of being
tazed is that he was on suicide watch and suicide watch
inmates are not allowed to have pens or pencils because they
could use them to harm themselves. He argues that discovery
will change the outcome of his case because it will show that
Defendants wronged him. He states that he wishes to use
discovery to obtain the suicide watch logs to prove that he
was on suicide watch.
reply (DN 41), Defendants point out that Plaintiff's
response to their summary-judgment motion was not verified
and that, in that response, Plaintiff does not deny that he
failed to file grievances about the incidents occurring on
August 22, 2015, and December 22, 2015. They also point out
that Plaintiff does not deny that he failed to appeal the
denial of his grievance related to the June 2016 incident and
that he offers no reason for that failure.
further argue that Plaintiff's contention that he could
not file grievances due to being on suicide watch is
erroneous. They point out that Plaintiff was aware of
WCRJ's grievance procedure and that he did not claim that
WCRJ staff refused to provide him with grievance forms or
writing materials. They explain that suicide watch inmates
are provided full access to the WCRJ's grievance process
upon request. In support, they attach the affidavit of
Defendant Causey and other documents, including the grievance
Plaintiff filed related to the June 2016 incident.
filed a sur-reply (DN 43). Plaintiff again asserts that he
was not allowed pens, paper, or pencils while on suicide
watch. He also asks the Court to take note that the grievance
form attached to the summary-judgment motion “has no
appeal process on it.” He asks, “So how can I
exhaust further if their form doesn't allow for
judgment is proper “if the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden
of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
moving party's burden may be discharged by demonstrating
that there is an absence of evidence to support an essential
element of the nonmoving party's case for which he has
the burden of proof. Id. Once the moving party
demonstrates this lack of evidence, the burden passes to the
nonmoving party to establish, after an adequate opportunity
for discovery, the existence of a disputed factual element
essential to his case with respect to which he bears the
burden of proof. Id. If the record taken as a whole
could not lead the trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party, the motion for summary judgment should be granted.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).
the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof at trial,
“a complete failure of proof concerning an essential
element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders
all other facts immaterial.” Celotex, 477 U.S.
at 323. The nonmoving party must do more than raise some
doubt as to the existence of a fact; the nonmoving party must
produce evidence that would be sufficient to require
submission of the issue to the jury. Lucas v. Leaseway
Multi Transp. Serv., Inc., 738 F.Supp. 214, 217 (E.D.
civil-rights cases are subject to the PLRA's mandate that
“[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison
conditions under § 1983 . . . by a prisoner confined in
any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such
administrative remedies as are available are
exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). To exhaust a
claim, a prisoner must proceed through all of the steps of a
prison's or jail's grievance process, because an
inmate “cannot abandon the process before completion
and claim that he has exhausted his remedies.”
Hartsfield v. Vidor, 199 F.3d 305, 309 (6th Cir.
1999). The Supreme Court held in Woodford v. Ngo,
548 U.S. 81, 93 (2006), that failure to
“properly” exhaust bars suit in federal court.
“Proper exhaustion” means that the plaintiff
complied with the ...